Clockwork Rat

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"Come with me. I know the city and the dark. I can find you safe places to sleep, and food to eat, after a fashion. I can be the best friend you could ever imagine, if only you will put me down."
— Clockwork Rat[1]

The Clockwork Rat is a fictional character in Perdita's Story, an introspective parable by the Sleeping Princess, in which he serves as the chief antagonist.

Physical Description[edit]

The Clockwork Rat is, as his name implies, a mechanical rat built from various mundane objects.[2] His ears are made of open safety pins;[2] his tail is made from a rubber wiper-blade;[2] his whiskers are made from wires;[2] his eyes are made from ball-bearings;[3] his claws are made from surgical scissors;[2] his teeth are made from the scraps of tin from under Perdita's father's workbench.[2] Additionally, the rat's voice is a high-pitched metallic squeak. While without an actual sex the rat is often referred to with male pronouns.


The Clockwork Rat is a deceptive and manipulative character, a representation of Dr. Catherine Halsey and the SPARTAN Program.[4][5] When caught by Perdita, he promises to help her survive and eventually find her way to her family.[6] However, the rat secretly destroys the trail of red balloons she leaves,[7] and in time alters her into a hideous cyborg while she sleeps.[8][9]

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Perdita's Story, Chapter 2
  2. ^ a b c d e f Perdita's Story, Chapter 2: It was a Clockwork Rat, with wires for whiskers and a rubber wiper-blade for a tail, and pointy ears made from open safety pins. Instead of claws it had tiny hooked scissors on the ends of its feet, the kind that doctors use to cut you up. The creature was so terrified its whole body shook and made little rattling noises, and its tin teeth, which looked like they had been made from the scraps under her father's workbench, were chattering furiously.
  3. ^ Perdita's Story, Chapter 5: Click, snap, went the Clockwork Rat's little scissor claws, and when Perdita glanced at him, his ball bearing eyes were hard as steel.
  4. ^ Axon ILB_A_little_sting.ogg: Durga: On my 14th birthday they took me to a lab, and... a doctor came in, and... it was a... lady doctor in a white coat. And, the nurse brought out a steel tray covered in picks, and scalpels, that rattled when she walked. (...) I let them strap me down... And she, picked up this long needle, with some yellow liquid in it. Black bars like stripes at the milliliter markings... And she said, "this will hardly hurt a bit."
  5. ^ Axon ILB_The_clockwork_rat.ogg: Durga: You all rescued me, and I'm so grateful. Only, some years had passed and I... I... I changed. Kamal: Yasmine, you're still there. Durga: No. She's not, Kamal. The Clockwork Rat got her.
  6. ^ Perdita's Story, Chapter 3: The Rat promised he would show Perdita the way home, and at first the little girl's heart jumped for joy. But although the Rat was true to its word about finding safe dark holes to hide in, and scraps to eat of things almost like food, somehow they never seemed to find the humble tin-cutter's cottage.
  7. ^ Perdita's Story, Chapter 4: But the Rat laughed with a sound like scalpels bouncing on a metal tray, and cut the string, and the red balloon went drifting up, up, up into the night sky. And that's the end.
  8. ^ Perdita's Story, Chapter 3: It was still dark when she woke up, and she felt a throbbing pain in her hand. When she looked down, she found one of her thumbs was missing. In its place was the head of a pair of needle-nose pliers. She looked around for the Clockwork Rat. He was perched on the edge of a rusting barrel full of rain water, furiously washing something off his little scissor claws.; When she woke up, there was a small electric iron at the bottom of her right leg instead of a foot, and something felt strange about her hair.
  9. ^ Perdita's Story, Chapter 4: The next time Perdita woke up, she found an egg-beater where her left hand used to be, and when she bit her lip she found her teeth had gone all thin and flat and sharp as tin.